The San Francisco 49ers completely overhauled their organization this offseason, and a lot of players could lose their spots on the team. How will linebacker Ahmad Brooks fair in his annual quest to dodge final cuts?
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks has been a constant since signing with the team in 2008.
That could change soon, as the 49ers have been through a major overhaul in the last seven months. First, they fired former head coach Chip Kelly and replaced him with former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Then, the ever infamous general manager Trent Baalke was finally canned and replaced with a former NFL player and broadcaster.
New general manager John Lynch has taken the reigns in San Francisco. With the endorsement of CEO Jed York, Lynch has overhauled more than half the 49ers’ roster from a season ago.
What a difference a year makes, right?
2016’s 49ers are in the rear-view mirror, and everything is new and exciting surrounding the team.
Almost everything, except Ahmad Brooks.
So, why is Brooks’ name so important here? Why would he have more to lose than any other 49ers’ player? For starters, he’s a starter but let’s look at how he could go from starting to off the team altogether.
Age and Salary
Brooks is currently 33 years old and carries a salary of $6 million in 2017, according to spotrac.com. This is usually a bad combination, but fortunately for Brooks, his contract is now worth only $4.45 million, due to de-escalators.
Prediction: With the leading salary cap room in the league, Brooks’ cap hit won’t be a major factor if he’s released.
The 49ers seem to be deciding between around five players to fill the LEO roll Brooks could project to in defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s 4-3 scheme. Brooks, DE Arik Armstead, LB Aaron Lynch, LB Eli Harold and LB Elvis Dumerville are all candidates. There’s also DE Tank Carradine, too.
All of these players can do the job, in theory. Armstead has received the most reps so far, and Dumerville is probably the player with the most experience. Lynch may have the most talent, but he has had a colorful career so far. Harold and Carradine have talent but really haven’t lived up to their skills in the NFL, especially Carradine. This could go any direction.
Harold and Brooks likely bump over to the SAM spot.
Prediction: This will be what hurts Brooks. Dumerville will earn ample playing time, as he seems to be healthy this year. Harold will be a rotational player while Armstead will see more snaps inside in pass-rush situations. Carradine will be cut and Lynch is a total wild card.
Big Picture for Brooks?
In theory, Brooks shouldn’t be on the 49ers anymore. His play has seemingly declined over the last three seasons. Maybe it really hasn’t, though. That could explain his staying power.
Prediction: Brooks sticks around as SAM, as his play in a 3-4 defense at outside linebacker projects well to the 4-3 under scheme the 49ers will be running this season.
Only time will tell and camp starts today.